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What Make Fundy’s Act The Way They Do?


I Broke Free
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During my two year stint in the Mormon Church I was a total asshole. I made snide remarks to family members and friends just to let them know that I disapproved of whatever they did or believed that did not correspond to The Lord’s (well mine really) belief system, and generally made my life and those around me miserable. Why did I feel the need to do that? I currently have xtian friends that never try and ‘correct’ me. Why the difference? Is there something about the life of some xtians that make them asshole fundamentalists? If so, what is it?

 

For me anyway, I believe the trigger was my growing guilt and shame over my inability to become a heterosexual while I was still a Christian. I prayed constantly to have god change me, but it never happened. I could never discuss my problem with other members of the church because then they would know that I was not believing or trying or praying sincerely enough to have god make me the way “I was supposed to be.” So I kept my big secret and suffered in silence.

 

It was my growing frustration that led me to lash out at my family and friends. It was the same frustration that led me to hate people that wallowed in sin and did not feel guilty about it. I might say, “How dare they mock the Lord! You will regret your sinful ways in the end.” But I had no compassion for these people, only anger. I was angry that they could go on and enjoy their lives doing things that only brought me shame and guilt; how dare them! They must be stopped! I personally think the more fundy your beliefs, the more likely that you are carrying a very large burden of shame and guilt around on your shoulders. The louder they scream, the more I believe they carry a shameful desire; a desire to do something sinful that god has yet to remedy.

 

I think most fundys are much less concerned about sin then they are about people not recognizing sin and feeling shame and guilt about it. When I was xtian I wanted to legislate morality. Why? Because if those damned people don’t have the decency to feel bad about what they are doing, then damn it, I will do it for them! I’ll be damned it I have to feel this bad and not have some company!

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During my two year stint in the Mormon Church I was a total asshole.

 

I used to be the same way. Religion is a disease which turns decent human beings into fucking monsters.

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Interesting insights, IBF.

 

Perhaps there is a need to distribute the shame and guilt. So, it is projected onto others.

 

Look at Swaggart, Bakker, Haggard. Staunch preachers who hammered away at the sins of the world. All the while living a secret life of total compromise.

 

So, I wonder if people who are addicted to drugs or sex or other "vices" are attracted to fundamentalism, or if being involved in fundamentalism and it's strict taboos lead to irresistible desires?

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I think a lot has to do with one's own personality type. Certainly there are fundies who are bigoted, intolerant, obnoxious, self-righteous, overbearing...

 

But there are others who are quiet, friendly, tolerant, and who have not an enemy in the world. My maternal grandmother was such a one. She was a hardshell baptist all her life, a born-again type to the core. Yet a kinder, more loving person never existed. She was loved by everyone, and I can't recall her ever uttering a harsh word to anyone. She had no racial or ethnic prejudices.

 

If more fundies were like her, there would be far fewer ex-christians. The thing is, there are lots of christians like that. We just never hear from them. What we hear are the blowhard idiots.

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During my two year stint in the Mormon Church I was a total asshole. I made snide remarks to family members and friends just to let them know that I disapproved of whatever they did or believed that did not correspond to The Lord's (well mine really) belief system, and generally made my life and those around me miserable. Why did I feel the need to do that? I currently have xtian friends that never try and 'correct' me. Why the difference? Is there something about the life of some xtians that make them asshole fundamentalists? If so, what is it?

 

For me anyway, I believe the trigger was my growing guilt and shame over my inability to become a heterosexual while I was still a Christian. I prayed constantly to have god change me, but it never happened. I could never discuss my problem with other members of the church because then they would know that I was not believing or trying or praying sincerely enough to have god make me the way “I was supposed to be.” So I kept my big secret and suffered in silence.

 

It was my growing frustration that led me to lash out at my family and friends. It was the same frustration that led me to hate people that wallowed in sin and did not feel guilty about it. I might say, “How dare they mock the Lord! You will regret your sinful ways in the end.” But I had no compassion for these people, only anger. I was angry that they could go on and enjoy their lives doing things that only brought me shame and guilt; how dare them! They must be stopped! I personally think the more fundy your beliefs, the more likely that you are carrying a very large burden of shame and guilt around on your shoulders. The louder they scream, the more I believe they carry a shameful desire; a desire to do something sinful that god has yet to remedy.

 

I think most fundys are much less concerned about sin then they are about people not recognizing sin and feeling shame and guilt about it. When I was xtian I wanted to legislate morality. Why? Because if those damned people don't have the decency to feel bad about what they are doing, then damn it, I will do it for them! I'll be damned it I have to feel this bad and not have some company!

 

Thank you for articulating this anger, IBF. I only experience it from the outside and I never have any idea what motives people to act so indecent when I did not do anything wrong. What you say here resonates. I've done some experimenting. I can do/say the same thing in the same way and receive very positive feedback from one person and extremely negative feedback from another person. The people who respond positively usually live open honest lives and demonstrate a relatively peaceful inner being. The people who respond negatively usually demonstrate much tension, fear, anger, etc. They seem to be suspicious of everyone except the people who agree with them. For the past number of years I have tried mainly to be around the peaceful people.

 

Sometimes I think this anger that you describe is the mark of fundamentalism. Piprus, I respect your testimony re your grandmother. You've posted about her from time to time and I know she was a positive influence on your life. My question would be: How can anybody be a true fundy and NOT be angry. They can be nice on the surface but when one crosses a certain line regarding beliefs they are obligated by their religion to turn cold.

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You hit it right on the head, IBF. The louder they scream, the more I know how chaotic their life really must be. They have no real control, and that frightens them. I think a lot of it has to do with fear of not being in control of your life or of life around you. Christianity offers you control over all your problems. Got a problem? Pray about it! God will answer! Just follow these commands, accept Jesus, and pray, and all your problems will go away because you have a friend in the Lord.

 

Of course, real life doesn't work like that, and when it doesn't, they are told they aren't "Trying hard enough," or convinced God is mad at them. So they have to exert more control. They bear down on themeselves, their families and friends, and on strangers. And it just keeps feeding off itself until they are unbearable, and life STILL doesn't work the way they want it to.

 

But it's not entirely lose-lose. They manage to get circumstances going their way sometimes, so it feeds their ideas that they are doing the right thing. Look at Ted Haggard. Guy DID get overwhelming success with his mega-church by being a fundy. Yet he still couldn't cure his own homosexuality. Go figure. Being a fundy is about extremes, so naturally their lives swing very dramatically.

 

Christian Fundementalism is a perpetual cycle of cannibalizing power trips where you are either fed or eaten constantly without getting any real truth or peace in your life.

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Kurari, as usual, you capture the essence of it so well. Eating and being eaten. I laughed aloud. It's so absurd yet so true. No matter that Paul warns against doing it, they do it with gusto! Of course, they believe (desperately) that heaven awaits them when they actually do get eaten by worms or whatever. I really liked the way you described the vicious circle of controling and being controled. I've never seen it spelled out so well but it is what I have observed. I can think of no other explanation for why they attacked me so ferociously for stating my beliefs. No one's faith (if it is real and genuine) is so weak that it cannot withstand another person's articulation or understanding of life. The intensity behind that attack was indefensible. Yeah, I'm still raving. The thing has not settled down yet. They are now asking me what I do believe.

 

Finally I clued in what is the real problem. Power. Control. I have now mailed a proposal. I have proposed terms and turf. If they meet that proposal I will meet for a discussion of my beliefs. I decided to take control of the situation and not feed myself to the bears via spelling out the info in another letter. Jesus said they have the law of Moses, if they won't hear Moses how will they hear one who rises from the dead. I thought: I told you once what I believe, of what benefit is it if I tell you again; will you then believe me?

 

I wrote into the proposal that they will have to submit to my questions about their beliefs, too. I will meet with only one person because there is only one of me. It will take place in the city in a coffee shop where I have had pleasant meetings with others. I figure if it's for their advantage that the meeting take place to begin with, it might as well take place in a place where I feel comfortable.

We will now see how genuine their curiosity is--do they REALLY want to know what I believe?

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Of course, real life doesn't work like that, and when it doesn't, they are told they aren't "Trying hard enough," or convinced God is mad at them. So they have to exert more control. They bear down on themeselves, their families and friends, and on strangers. And it just keeps feeding off itself until they are unbearable, and life STILL doesn't work the way they want it to.

 

Exactly my impression. They get spoon-fed that it works. They try. It doesn't work. They wonder why. They remember that "gawd is good, gawd is perfect, man brought sin down on himself". They conclude that it must be their fault. Eventually, they "understand" that they need to be more zealous. Still doesn't work. Even more zealous. Still doesn't work. Frustration builds up. Eventually it turns into anger and then hatred. They feel like losers because they've been brainwashed that it's always their fault. They vent their self-anger and self-hatred by demonizing others.

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I used to be so critical and judgemental of others, and still am sometimes, but I'm pretty sure it was my fundy upbringing that really fostered that attitude in me. I also think that I tend to be a perfectionist, albeit a toned-down one now after adding a husband, two boys and a (boy) dog to the mix, so I would pick out in others the problems I saw in myself. Now I'm sooo much better, and am able to let others be who they are and relax about life more often. I do wonder where you draw the line in molding your children, or is it pointing them in the right general direction? I mean, it's okay for me to correct their grammar or point out where they can work on their social skills, etc., but I don't want to make them in my own image either.

 

Sparkyone

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When I was a Christian I was an incredibly hateful, critical, and judgmental person and was hell-bent on trying to make other people follow the laws of the bible god. I was very zealous. (You know how some Christians put up fliers about “Believe in Jesus and be saved”? I used to put up fliers of the laws and punishments according to ‘god’ on door posts.)

 

I do believe you hit it on the head there about the more fundamentalist you are the more you’re hiding something you’re taught to believe is shameful. I know this was the case for me, I can relate to the part about praying to god about changing sexual orientation, because that’s what I used to do. I tried very hard to be straight. I would try drowning out my thoughts with bible study.

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...Yet he still couldn't cure his own homosexuality...

Cure?

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...Yet he still couldn't cure his own homosexuality...

Cure?

 

Maybe I should not try to speak for Kurari so I'll speak for myself. I thought she used the word "cure" to capture how the fundies see it. They do see it as something that can and should be "cured."

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It really has nothing to do with thier faith and everything to do with being able to control other people. When others see through their illusion and realize this, they start the de-converting process.

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The last few years I made it my business to point out some of the flaws of Christians. Everything from divorce, abortion and birth control to sex, lies, and greed. This of course had me at odds with most people that felt I was generalizing, hence I had ruined some good friendships.

 

So basically I turned the tables on them. They most certainly resented it and always found an excuse, or the whole good Christian, bad Christian pretext. I felt that fundies, and moderates alike need to experience what it feels like to have someone attack your dignity. While I felt I had a decent moral code, other than sleeping with men, indulgence, and of course the occasional lie. I was a good person, whom tried to live by what I thought was the words of Jesus.

 

I didn't like how that anger made me feel. Like Piprus indicated, there were some good folks that I had alienated with my brutal ranting. They didn't deserve it, but while I didn't specifically name them, they felt the sting when I mentioned Christians. Most of my life when I felt shame and guilt, I internalized it and lead me to depression and abuse. I guess my getting pissed off was my pain and fear being projected outward, so I do understand how they get to that point. It still doesn't make it right, and I guess everyone has their own rock bottom when they finally say enough is enough.

 

It's unfortunate I estranged those friends I made in the early years of blogging, but I've lived too many years on the receiving end of their moral tirads, and it was just a part of what got me where I am today. Those that stuck by me through those

wrathful years, were the ones telling me to stop feeling sorry for it, and to shed that fear and shame. That being said, however, I do wish there was a way to soften the blow for people like Piprus' grandmother. I guess all I can do is hope they do understand why I detest Christianity.

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